22 dec. 2008

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Barack Obama and his team haven't reached the White House yet, but they already seem to have mastered the art of the slow-motion leak. We learned yesterday, via George Stephanopoulos, that Rahm Emanuel has been cleared in the incoming administration's internal investigation of its dealings with Rod Blagojevich. Whether that was a deliberate, strategic leak or just intrepid reporting, it served its purpose: The story trickled out on a sleepy Sunday morning, got picked up everywhere, and by today it seems like old news. Well, glad that's all cleared up! Let's move on now.

To an unusual degree given how quiet he's been so far, Joe Biden is much in the news today. Biden will be chairing a task force on "strengthening the middle class," which sounds -- even by the standards of Washington task forces -- dull and more likely to be the source of photo ops rather than real legislative action. And after Biden and Dick Cheney both made Sunday show appearances, much of the focus was on how the two men differ on the proper role of the vice presidency. Biden said he wants to "restore the balance" between the president and vice president, while Cheney said Biden wants to "diminish the office" of the No. 2.

Here's another difference: Cheney probably wouldn't be caught dead chairing a task force on strengthening the middle class. Remember, this is the VP who reportedly said no when asked whether he would head up the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. For the most part, Cheney seemed to have free rein on issues that interested him and stayed as far away as possible from those issues that didn't. What will happen the first time Obama asks Biden to do something he would rather not?

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